BREAKING: BATFE White Paper Proposes Changes to Regulations


BREAKING: BATFE White Paper Proposes Changes to Regulations

In a very interesting read that appears to be a “leaked” white paper composed by Ronald Turk (the Chief Operating Officer of the ATF), numerous beneficial changes are proposed.

The biggest and most exciting one appears to be one centering around the classification of suppressors in the NFA:

ATF’s experience with the criminal use of silencers also supports reassessing their inclusion in the NFA. On average in the past 10 years, ATF has only recommended 44 defendants a year for prosecution on silencer-related violations; of those, only approximately 6 of the defendants had prior felony convictions. Moreover, consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings. Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not 7 be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the GCA.

The next helpful proposal is regarding questions around “stabilizing braces” that have been repeatedly sent to the ATF. As you will recall, they came out with a clarification discussing “use” and it became a much ridiculed meme. This white paper suggests an amendment to the clarification determination around the brace. Basically redacting that language about it’s use:

ATF has not made another NFA determination where a shooter’s use alone was deemed be a “redesign” of the product/firearm resulting in an NFA classification. This ruling has caused confusion and concern among firearm manufacturers, dealers, and consumers about the extent to which unintended use of a product may be a basis for NFA classification. To mitigate this confusion and concern, ATF could amend the determination letter to remove the language indicating that simple use of a product for a purpose other than intended by the manufacturer – without additional proof or redesign

The final point I found interesting (though really it would behoove you to read the whole thing–most points are informative), is around the idea of conducting a new “sporting purpose study.” The benefit from this that right now a number of states use the concept of what is a modern sporting rifle when drafting restrictive legislation. What I read from this is that by updating the lists and reviewing classifications we would potentially have more foreign imports available that were otherwise unreasonably restricted.

ATF could re-examine its almost 20-year old study to bring it up to date with the sport shooting landscape of today, which is vastly different than what it was years ago. Action shooting sports and organizations such as 3 Gun and the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) have also drastically expanded in recent years. Restriction on imports serves questionable public safety interests, as these rifles are already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the United States. Low cost foreign made firearms are also still imported and converted into “non-sporting” configurations. These restrictions have placed many limitations on importers

In any case, it is good to see the BATFE taking measures to become more efficient and also that appear to support gun ownership–something most people, I would argue, do not associate with the agency (no matter how inaccurate that view may be).

You can read the whole document here:

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Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Before that, he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie,” and assaults 14er in his sandals, and engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming copious water. To fund these adventures, he writes all manner of content (having also held editor positions at several publications) and teaches wilderness medicine and off-road skills. He hopes that his posts will help you find the gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it (and the training to use it). Learn from his mistakes--he is known (in certain circles) for his curse...ahem, find the breaking point of anything. You can follow him at

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